Wrekin (The Marches Line) [remastered]

There’s a live video here.

Here are the words again, but there’s much more information about the references in the song here.

The Abbey watches my train crawling Southwards
Thoughts of Cadfael kneeling in his cell
All along the Marches line, myth and history
Prose and rhyme
But these are tales I won’t be here to tell

The hill is crouching like a cat at play
Its beacon flashing red across the plain
Once we were all friends around the Wrekin
But some will never pass this way again

Lawley and Caradoc fill my window
Facing down the Long Mynd, lost in rain
But I’m weighed down with the creaks and groans
Of all the years I’ve known
And I don’t think I’ll walk these hills again

Stokesay dreams its humble glories
Stories that will never come again
Across the Shropshire hills
The rain is blowing still
But the Marcher Lords won’t ride this way again

The royal ghosts of Catherine and Arthur
May walk the paths of Whitcliffe now and then
Housman’s ashes grace
The Cathedral of the Marches
He will not walk Ludlow’s streets again

The hill is crouching like a cat at play
Its beacon flashing red across the plain
Once we were all friends around the Wrekin
But some will never pass this way again
And I may never pass this way again

 

Down to the River [remastered]

Down to the River (Harley)

If I get around to a commercial recording, I’ll probably tighten up the lyric. But doesn’t sound too bad considering it was recorded in the 80s on lo-tech gear.

I won’t go down to the river
Anyway not yet
There’s too much to do and the water’s cold
And I don’t want my feet wet
I don’t want my feet wet

I won’t go down to the river
I guess I really should
But the sand’s so warm between my toes
And you know it feels so good
I know it does me good

Come on down to the river
It can’t do you harm
You’ve got to learn sometime to sink or swim
And the sun will keep you warm
The sun will keep you warm

I won’t go down to the river
You know I can’t go down
The water’s so still, the sides so steep
I’m scared that I might drown
So scared that I might drown

Come on down to the river
The road’s so hard and rough
If you keep your head and your hands are clean
Surely you can’t drown in love?
You can’t drown in love

I can’t go down to the river
I surely can’t go down
My soul is parched but my body aches
And I just know I’ll drown
I know I’ll surely drown

Come on down to the river
It tastes so sweet and cold
Come on down before it gets too late
And wash the dust out of your soul
The dust out of your soul

We’ve got to get on down to the river
We have to learn to trust
Got to wash away all the doubt and fear
Before the whole damn’ world dries up
Before the world dries up

 

‘Carpentry’ remastered.

Remastered version, but I’m still not happy with the sound quality. I’m afraid I might have to go back to the beginning on this one.

Copyright David Harley, 1976. All rights reserved.

This is an instrumental version of my setting from a poem from ‘A Shropshire Lad’. The song was originally intended to be sung unaccompanied, but it somehow developed a guitar accompaniment with a slight Middle Eastern feel, and the first section is very much based on that.

The faster second section was meant to have a more medieval feel, and includes  overdubbed dulcimer and bouzouki. Cittern would have been more appropriate, perhaps, but I didn’t have one to hand. Strangely, it seems to have finished up sounding a bit like the Philip Glass Ensemble (but with much less time between changes), but I like it.

David Harley

Closing/suspended events

Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, a large number of regular events have already been cancelled or at least suspended. I’m afraid I can’t promise to keep on top of all the events listed here as they go offline and (hopefully) resume further down the line. Of course, I’ll remove anything I know to have stopped happening altogether in due course. Where I can, I’ll continue to repost any relevant information on the Wheal Alice page on Facebook. Whether you decide to go to events that are still running is up to you, of course, at least until the government decrees otherwise: for the moment I’m leaving the list intact with contact details – where I have them – so that you can check on current status.

David Harley

Dying of Communication [remastered]

Words & music (c) David Harley

Sitting it out at the full moon
Reading my mail from the next room
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Checking it out with the radio
Late late news is ‘no place to go’
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Sitting it out in the bathroom
Freaked out on ego juice
Fighting it out in the bedroom
Wondering what’s the use
Everyone knows we’re dying
Dying of communication

Hannah (Upcountry) [demo]

Remastered version with reduced instrumentation.

There’s lightning on the skyline
But I can’t hear a sound
I used to stand for something
Now I can’t find solid ground

Tom’s gone to Hilo
And Sammy’s gone to sea
But Hannah’s gone upcountry
She wouldn’t wait for me

The wind bites like a razor
When those Easterlies veer round
The moon floats high and lonesome
Peering through the clouds

Tom’s gone to Hilo
And Sammy’s gone to sea
But Hannah’s gone upcountry
She wouldn’t wait for me

Some fell where they were standing
Some are glory bound
But Hannah’s gone to the mountains
And she’s never coming down

Tom’s gone to Hilo
And Sammy’s gone to sea
But Hannah’s gone upcountry
She wouldn’t wait for me

There’s lightning on the skyline
But I can’t hear a sound
I used to stand for something
Now I can’t find solid ground

Tom’s gone to Hilo
And Johnny’s gone to sea
But Hannah’s up the country
She wouldn’t wait for me

Yes, Hannah’s gone upcountry
She won’t even write to me

Words & music (c) 2017 by David Harley